I upgraded my graphics card the other day...out came the Nvidia 6600GT (Gigabyte) and in went the Alpha Dog XFX Nvidia 8800gs. I did not encounter any problems considering this is my first Graphic card upgrade (ever).
STOP! BEFORE TOUCH ANY OF THE COMPONENTS WHICH MAY BE STATIC SENSITIVE TOUCH SOME BARE METAL IN ORDER TO DISCHARGE ANY STATIC THAT IS BUILDING UP IN YOUR BODY, AS IT COULD DAMAGE STATIC SENSITIVE BITS (CHIPS ETC)
1. Make sure your motherboard has the correct interface for the card you are putting in, ie AGP, PCI or PCI express etc; just think of it like a square peg does not go into a round hole.
2. Ensure your power supply is powerful enough (measured in watts) to run your new card. The card I took out ran directly with the power from the motherboard; but the new card needed a connecting lead called a PCI-E lead which mated onto one of the spare output leads(called MOLEX) off the loom. The PCI-E leads com in 2 varieties I found out, I was lucky as my card had the correct lead bundled with the graphic card upon purchase.
3 You can find the power rating of your current power supply on a label on side of your current ATX power supply. My old one was 350 watt but my new card needed minimum of 400 watt, so I purchased a 450 watt supply in order to allow a little bit extra. The old story about driving a mini at 90 mph and a Rolls Royce at 90 mph applies here. They will both do 90mph but only one will do it comfortably and all day!
4. When putting your new card into the correct slot, make sure you give it a firm and vertical downward push; ensure that any plastic retaining fixtures are clear of the card sliding in smoothly. Use the retaining screw hole on side of card and tower to help you align card at right distance from edge of pc casing.
5. Dont put all the pc tower back together yet as you want to power up the system to see if all is good. Don't panic like I did when the tower makes a high pitch squeal upon powering up, it's either motherboard failure (very unlikely) or you have not connected the PCI-E power lead to the Molex connector and thus the card is not powered up. Hence squealing (that's what I did).
6. I put the driver disk that was supplied with my card into drive and for some reason I kept getting an error message and driver installation ended there for that evening as I have not got net access where I was doing the upgrade and had to wait to download the Nvidia driver package from the official Nvidia site. The package contains drivers for the 6,7 and 8 series of cards. So it was a case of one update for all. This went very smoothly.
7. If I have left important bits and pieces of relevant information out I apologise as this was my first card upgrade (I suggest you try upgrading ram as a first project if you feel a bit nervous as this is probably the easiest upgrade to start with).
In conclusion, I am glad I changed my card as the graphic power of the Nvidia 8 series is impressive to say the least. I think the 6600GT card is great and I could not see any real difference when playing Stalker 1 on the old card or the new, but I have seen a massive improvement in details on games like Command & Conquer Tiberium Wars and Far Cry 1.
Hope you found this guide helpful please bear in mind this was my first card upgrade and I wanted to encourage others to try as it is very satisfying to improve your gaming experience for such a easy upgrade.
IF YOU FOUND THIS GUIDE HELPFUL THEN PLS GIVE ME YOUR VOTE OF APPROVAL, THANKS FOR LOOKING.